Deadly medical errors are often preventable
Patients in and around the country suffer from medical negligence every day. Medical negligence can cause a patient’s medical condition to worsen, create new injuries (sometimes worse than Florida Lyft accidents), or even lead to patient death.
The distinguished bioethicist Lori Andrews recently gave a lecture about the problem of medical malpractice in our nation’s hospitals. Andrews called preventable medical errors the “hidden secret” of America’s health care system.
“People need to become activists to make hospitals safe for all of us. If each day a 747 airplane crashed, killing all 500 people aboard, we’d be outraged. But more than that many people die of medical errors each day and society ignores it,” she said.
Andrews analyzed the staff of a teaching hospital with a team of researchers and discovered that 46 percent of the patients suffered at least one medical error in their care. Approximately 18 percent of the patients suffered serious harm from such errors.
The team also found that rate of medical errors was much higher than what doctors reported. A study from Harvard found an almost 4 percent error rate by reviewing medical records, which was significantly below the 46 percent rate found by the team.
“This disparity is understandable, since one would not expect that doctors would admit their errors in a record.” Andrews said. “In fact, some physicians in our study indicated that they did not include information about errors in the patient’s chart because they wanted to avoid litigation.
Andrews was also noted that the hospital made almost no attempt to prevent future errors or to learn from the errors that were made.